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April 22 is Earth Day, a spring holiday we dedicate to our planet. In modern times, many people don’t think about how their actions impact the environment or that there are simple ways to incorporate green ideas into their daily routines and work schedule. Being “green” doesn’t take a lot of effort, and by changing some of our basic habits, we can reduce our carbon footprint and conserve resources to keep our planet clean and happy.
ICONMA’s commitment to sustainability started with our commitment to go digital. Due to the nature of our business practices and operations, ICONMA has a small environmental impact across all communities; however, we find it vital to have a policy in place that promotes stewardship of the environment. Along with going digital and reducing the amount of paper utilized within our offices, ICONMA also recycles used electronics, batteries, cartridges, toners, etc., in an environmentally safe manner. We also partner with a third-party service provider for recycling pick up for any disposed of paper.
Earth Day was first celebrated in 1970 after over 20 million Americans called for better environmental protections, and it eventually led to a mass protest. The U.S. declared Earth Day a national holiday and sparked the global environmental movement, which continues to gain the support of millions of people each year. It is also now recognized by 193 countries, taking an American celebration worldwide.
In the office
Very often, making the office green isn’t a top priority, especially with a majority of employees working remotely or alternating time between the office and the home office. However, there are some simple yet efficient ideas to improve sustainability practices in the office.
One simple way to advance sustainability in the office is by powering down electronic devices that are not in use. This can range from computers to copiers and even as simple as lightbulbs. Swap out the lights in the office with LEDs or CFLs and install motion-sensitive, automatic switches so that the lights only power on if someone is in the room. These light bulbs use 75% less energy than incandescent lights and help reduce the amount of greenhouse gas emissions in our atmosphere. If this isn’t in your budget, place signs to remind employees to turn off lights when leaving a room.
Another easy way is to invest in water filters for break rooms and encouraging to use reusable mugs and water bottles to help produce less waste. Place signs around break rooms ask employees to bring their own Tupperware to reduce the use of paper plates and plastic utensils.
If going completely paperless is not a realistic option for your company, Earth Day is the perfect time to launch an incentive-based recycling program to properly dispose of paper, plastic, aluminum, and other recyclables. According to Recycle Coach,a single employee uses a sheet of paper every 12 minutes. That’s 90 sheets of paper for a full-time employee every day.
While many employees are still working from home, some have started going back into the office, which means that more cars are expected to return to the road as well. One way to reduce the number of greenhouse gases and pollution released into the environment is to encourage employees to carpool or take advantage of public transportation. In the era of COVID-19, this may not seem like the most comfortable option for many employees, but as we progress through the pandemic, this is a great way to reduce our carbon footprint. If you take public transportation and are concerned about disinfecting your area, look up non-toxic, biodegradable sanitizer wipes and carry a pack in your bag.
Some of the same new habits encouraged at work are easy to keep up with and can also be adapted into your household as well, especially recycling and reducing your use of disposable dishware and utensils. Encourage your own family to join the fight to protect the environment by researching your local recycling pick-up or drop-off locations and make it a weekly routine, just like trash pickup.
Try to find easy ways to conserve resources like water and electricity. According to the San Diego Union-Tribune, about two gallons of water flow from a faucet every minute. By turning off the water while brushing your teeth, you can save up to four gallons of water per person every day. This also can apply to taking shorter showers too.
If you’re not ready to commit to totally going green, one perfect springtime activity is volunteering or donating money to plant a tree. There are many organizations across the country that are looking for volunteers and donations to restore plant life including One Tree Planted, the Arbor Day Foundation, the National Forest Foundation,and Eden Reforestation Projects. Also, take time out of your weekend to volunteer for local organizations and plant some trees with your friends and family. It is both perfect for those wanted to get together safely during the pandemic and those who want to help the environment.
It’s easy to forget to do our part. Pollution builds up on beaches, and greenhouse gases dominate and pollute our fresh airspace; but if we all chip in a little, we can reduce it and eventually reverse the damage we’ve created.
Reducing your carbon footprint doesn’t require a major change in your daily or work routine, but by adding a little extra thought into the resources you use and brainstorming ideas to make slight improvements, you can contribute to a bigger change in our environment.
April 9, 2021